Scotland’s governing Scottish National Party elected Humza Yousaf as its new leader on Monday after a bruising five-week contest that exposed deep fractures within the pro-independence movement.
The 37-year-old son of South Asian immigrants is set to become the first person of color and the first Muslim to serve as Scotland’s first minister since the post was established in 1999.
Yousaf, who currently is Scotland’s health minister, beat two other Scottish lawmakers in a contest to replace First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. She unexpectedly stepped down last month after eight years as leader of the party and of Scotland’s semi-autonomous government.
Yousaf, who is due to be confirmed as first minister by Scottish lawmakers on Tuesday, faces the challenge of uniting the SNP and reenergizing its campaign for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
“Just as I will lead the SNP in the interests of all party members, not just those who voted for me, so I will lead Scotland in the interests of all our citizens whatever your political allegiance,” he said in an acceptance speech at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield rugby stadium.
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